British luxury automotive manufacturer McLaren has signalled an interest in adding autonomous car functionality to its cars in the future.
In an interview with Motoring, McLaren’s global corporate communications manager Duncan Forrester said the automaker may build autonomous safety features into the car, but promised that drivers would still be able to take over control with one button press.
McLaren is one of the first ‘luxury’ automakers to express an interest in autonomous cars. Ferrari and Lamborghini have been silent on the subject, most likely due to their main market being customers that want to drive the car, not see it drive itself.
“We have to find our way and I suspect what will probably happen is that some of the main roads, where safety is difficult, we will have an autonomous mode. You press a button and everybody is on autonomous mode,” said Forrester. “Then you get to back roads or wherever and turn it off and go and have some fun.”
Expect the usual McLaren design…and pricetag
Clearly, McLaren don’t want to take the fun away from owning their ridiculously expensive cars, the cheapest costing a cool $187,000.
At the same time, the automaker sees opportunity with autonomous functionality. It may interest people that enjoy driving on weekends or on freeways, but don’t want to steer their car during insufferable 5 mph traffic jams in city centers.
The safety aspect is a good way for McLaren to insert the functionality without polarizing its market. Forrester didn’t say if McLaren were actively working on the functionality, or if it plans to partner with one of the many tech companies working on self-driving systems.
Either way, it seems unlikely that McLaren will outfit its next car with autonomous systems. We’ll probably hear about it after the major automakers—BMW, Audi, and Ford—launch their own autonomous cars.